Wednesday Journal, November 10, 2010
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nspired by a welcome — andpleasing — cup of the “stonesoup” that I had at the seasonﬁnale of our celebrated OakPark Farmers’ Market onthe last Saturday of October, Ihappily returned to my humblekitchen, laden with a wealth of our earth’s bounty and readyfor a fun day of soup making.Alas, there being no morestones available, I relied insteadon my purchases and came upwith this delicious recipe forminestrone, an Italian vegetablesoup that is as enjoyable tomake as it is to eat.In stark contrast to the current practiceof cooking vegetables al dente, striving topreserve the individual qualities of eachvegetable in a recipe, the aim of a goodminestrone is to develop a collective ﬂavorthrough long and slow cooking where theindividual characteristics of each vegetablesurrenders to the pot, allowing all of thevegetables to intermingle.The fun part of making this soup is thetechnique employed in its preparation.As I constantly remind my stu-dents as they multi-task in theclasses I teach in the CulinaryArts Program at Kendall Col-lege, “Let the stove work whileyou’re working!” Here, we buildthe soup in steps. Each vegetableis added in sequence and has tocook for at least 2 or 3 minutes,so you can peel and cut one veg-etable while the one you addedpreviously is slowly releasingall of its intended goodness. Itlessens the tedium.Regional differences aboundin Italian cookery and there areassuredly as many versions of minestroneas there are vegetables. Here is a versionpopular in Rome.
Chlumsky, former executive chef of Philander’s restaurant in Oak Park, teachesin Chicago at Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts. In his 37-year career, Frankhas owned restaurants in Michigan City, Ind., and in Lake Geneva, Wis. He has alsobeen executive chef at the Saddle & CycleClub in Chicago. Frank lives in Forest Park,where he cooks for pleasure.
FRANK ON FOOD
Surrender to the pot.Te art of minestrone
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
½ cup olive oil3 tablespoons unsalted butter1 cup onion, sliced thin1 cup carrots, medium dice1 cup celery, medium dice or faked2 cups russet potato, medium dice2 cups zucchini, washed and medium dice3 cups cabbage, shredded1 cup resh green beans, diced6 cups bee or chicken stock, canned is o.k.1 cup canned plum tomatoes with juice1½ cups* Cannellini or Great Northern beans,canned is ok½ cup Parmesan cheese, reshly grated
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oiland butterAdd the sliced onion and cook overmedium-low heat until slightly goldenAdd carrots and cook slowly for 2 to 3minutes, stirring occasionallyRepeat this operation in sequence withthe celery, potatoes, zucchini and greenbeans, cooking each for 2 to 3 minutesAdd the shredded cabbage and cookuntil wilted, about 5 or 6 minutesAdd hot beef stock and canned toma-toesAdd a pinch of salt and pepperCover and cook very slowly for 2½hoursAdd the canned beans and cook for 30minutesAdd the grated cheese, taste and cor-rect seasoning and serve.*If you prefer, you can use ¾ cup driedbeans, cooked as you normally would.Minestrone will taste even better whenit is reheated the next day.It is supposed to be thick, but if desiredyou can thin it out with more stock orwater.